April 13, 2012, 1:30 PM
Thanks to everyone who is praying for St. Barnabas UMC and all the people affected by the tornadoes.  Thanks to all who responded in “Faith, Hope, Love in Action” by bringing eggs and water to the church last weekend.  I just wish you could have been at the conference nominations committee meeting on Tuesday evening to hear all the nice things Bishop Lowry said about the United Methodist Women.  He was very thankful and impressed with our quick response to the need at St. Barnabas.  He said they had so many Easter eggs on Sunday they didn’t know what to do with them. Thank you for your prayers, your Easter eggs, and your donations of water.  I’m very proud of you!  Let’s continue to listen to God’s voice calling us to action in the future.  We can do it!
I asked if St. Barnabas needed more water and the answer was “no”.  I was told that most of the people have insurance on their homes and don't need volunteers to help.  I’m sure they still need our prayers as they recover from the trauma and loss.
This mission effort was exciting because it showed us how powerful our connectional church can be.  We worked with the conference level (CTC Director of Mission Dawne Phillips) and the local level (St. Barnabas UMW President Glenda Busch) to find out about the need and then we communicated across the conference to every district and hopefully every local group. The response was powerful!
The Central Texas Conference United Methodist Women is intentionally looking for connections.  We are looking for ways to network. Part of rethinking the church is figuring out what we need to do that we haven’t been doing.  I think one of the things we haven’t done is network with other groups in an effort to bring “the Kingdom of God” here on earth. 
We are having our first UMW Workday at United Community Centers on May 19.  UCC is our only national mission in the Central Texas Conference and we are working to strengthen our connection to these three community centers and partner with the families from those communities to bring about positive change. Hope you will come!
We have a connection with Healthy Families/Healthy Planet as we work to improve maternal health care around the world.  We want to improve health care for women so that the birthing kits we are making now will not be needed in the future.  Today a woman dies of child birth-related causes every 90 seconds. As we work with Katye Zeh and the staff at Healthy Families/Healthy Planet we are taking action to change those numbers- to “change the world” and with God’s help we will.
We have also been meeting with community organizers Josephine Paul and Mahlon Hight of Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT) about how we can work together to build stronger, healthier communities in Fort Worth and surrounding areas.  This interfaith group brings together leaders from across the metroplex to find ways to improve the lives of people living in poverty.  Some of the statistic I heard at our last meeting are heart breaking: In Fort Worth 1 in 5 persons 25 and over have no high school diploma; 1 in 4 households have a yearly income of less than $25,000; 1 in 4 have no health care coverage; 1 in 5 families with children under 18 have income below the poverty line. My question to the group after hearing those numbers was, “Why aren’t we outraged?”
Poverty is one of our studies for School of Christian Mission this summer.  I pray we will take what we learn from that study;what we learn through our association with ACT, UCC, and HF/HP and in Faith, Hope, and Love be moved to Action! UMW needs to be leaders in the United Methodist Church and in our communities working for change!  We need to turn these shocking statistics around and I believe making connections like these will help empower us to do so.
What other connections do we need to make? How can you and your group bring the “Kingdom of God” to earth?

Contact me to hear about ways to connect with United Community Centers, Healthy Families/Healthy Planet, and Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT)? Let’s make the connection!

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